Needlework

hummingbird embroidery

In my spare time I have stitching hobbies that I like to do.

  • Embroidery
  • Sewing

I have been stitching on heirloom tablecloths, blankets and pillowcases since I was quite young. Doing embroidery feels like coloring with thread in a rhythm on cloth to me. You will find me in the sewing room anytime I need something else made.

In the evenings, I wind-down while watching TV with family by embroidering. I don’t have to watch commercials or the boring parts of programs when I hold something in my hands to stitch. It is a very welcome distraction to me. I’d probably go crazy if I had to watch every minute of TV so this industrious expressions of a sewing craft is probably responsible for maintaining my sanity.

Three generations of women sat together doing these needle crafts, in my house growing up. My Great Grandmother did Scottish tatting and embroidery around and on dish towels, quilts, doilies and pillowcases. Grandma did  fancy embroidery in colored flosses  making days-of-the-week dish towels, flowers, herbs, quilts, and much more on quilts table cloths and napkins. My Mom did fine crochet using thin cotton thread around the edges of our embroidery along with many doilies, tablecloths, Christmas tree skirts, blouses and more. We sat around the living room chatting and stitching together in the afternoons and evenings. In summertime there was green bean snapping going-on too.

My Grandma was the one who taught me how to do embroidery stitches on small things like hot pad holders, hankies, and a pillowcase. After I had learned how to do all the basic embroidery stitches sufficiently, I graduated from her embroidery 101 course and slipped into the real world of embroidery from there.

Grandma gave me a full tablecloth kit for Christmas as my first real project. It was a daisy pattern, in a kit made by Bucilla which had the thread, cloth, needles, and hoop in it. I was in high school and it took me a whole year to finish it, changing thread color so many times that it became second nature for me to thread a needle. There were many times that I thought that maybe it would be impossible to finish, but each evening I stitched again and it did get completed. It would not surprise me if I found out that the women of my family placed bets on weather I would finish it or not. Little did I know this would become a lifelong habit that I love.

Opal Kilpatrick

My Grandma was also responsible for many of my best recipes and craft skills. Her name was Opal (Canniff) Kilpatrick. Being half Scottish and half Indian she had beautiful white hair just like her Mother. Here is a picture of her pausing for a photo for me in the Lihue, Kauai airport before we walked over to the gate for her to catch her flight. She had come to visit me and my kids before moving away to the mainland to live with her sister in Oklahoma. I snapped this photograph with one of those old Kodak film cameras, little did I know this would be the last time I would see her in-person before she passed away. I carry this picture in my wallet and I still miss her. I hear Grandma’s voice whenever I spread my daisy tablecloth on the table to use on a special occasion.

I like to sew, which I learned from my Mom. My sewing includes many things like tractor-seat-covers, blankets, aprons, bags, quilts and clothes, car seat covers or anything else. My mother’s name was Mary (Kilpatrick) Schultheis and she was a pianist, and seamstress who spent many hours sewing our family clothes and everything else growing up. She was so talented in so many ways, she sewed all the fancy “holo ku” costumes I used to dance hula solos in. These were fitted muu muu’s that were very complicated patterns because they were designed to imitate 1800’s style long dresses with many small buttons, lace and long trains. I now have a complete understanding of how difficult it must have been to put 3-4 of those outfits together every year. It must of been like making multiple prom dresses every year for me. I really should of thanked her much, much, more! I sew for my family and friends with most of what I make being given away, sold, or donated to church fundraisers.

If you are interested in learning this embroidery hobby I found a good example of instructions to learn the basic stitches here by Mollie Johansen;

Molly Makes, Stitch Library Guide to Embroidery Stitches

Your best way to learn is to jump on in, here are some embroidery basics;

  • embroidery needles
  • pin cushion or (bar of soap)
  • small scissors
  • hoop
  • embroidery floss
  • iron-on stamp pattern

I keep a sharp eye out at Thrift Stores and or Garage Sales. Many times it is quite economical to buy needlework or sewing supplies in a large quantities at estate sales. An easy first project is a couple pillowcases, that you apply an iron-on stamp pattern for traditional embroidery.

Most sewing outlets, hobby outlets, and Walmart carry them. You can locate learning or first kits that include everything you need in them too. The website of the firm based in Georgia that took over the Bucilla brand is here;

http://www.plaidonline.com

Like mentioned earlier, I continue to do anywhere from 3-6 pillowcases and 1-3 table cloths each year depending on difficulty of the designs. Each is a one-of-a-kind design utilizing a hand made theme. It is not necessary for me to purchase a stamp pattern to work from. I have quite a stock of every color of floss in my sewing kit sitting by the recliner, that I restock as needed.  Typical themes of my work include birds and bees, butterflies, flowers, leaves, vines and animals, hummingbirds or cherry vines with baskets, or daisies. The list goes on and on.

Let me know if you’d like to purchase any of the work I share here, or if you’d like a special order made, as I may be persuaded to part with heirlooms if the price is right.

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